Book Review – Some Bemba Names And Their Meanings

Some Bemba Names And Their Meanings-KitweOnLine Book Reviews

Title:                             Some Bemba Names And Their Meanings

Author:                          Mulenga M. Kapwepwe

Publisher:                      Mulenga Kapwepwe

ISBN:                            9982-03-008-6

Copyright date:             2002

Price:                             K40,000

Book Available from:   Lusaka Museum

Number of Pages:         46


Names are universal in human society. A name is a time capsule that contains information about who we are and where we come from. It is not surprising, therefore, that different societies will have their unique beliefs about names and particular customs surrounding the naming of an individual.

Mulenga M. Kapwepwe set out to shed some light on the importance of Names in Bemba society. She explains Bemba baby naming rituals, the different structures and forms of Bemba names and explains the meanings of some names.

The names are categorized according to categories that reflect the context in which particular names are given.

There is a section about names associated with the Bemba monarchy and another on newly acquired names from other cultures that have been "Bembanised."

The book is easy to read and at 46 pages, is readable in one sitting.

The book manages to shed light on different names and has short stories about some names that make interesting reading. We found these informative.

One aspect that we would have liked to see more information on is the circumstances in which various names are given to a baby. What sort of circumstances, for instance, compeled parents to name their baby after a fish or a quail?

Some Bemba Names And Their Meanings is not comprehensive, as you will have gathered from the title. Like most traditions, Bemba has been an oral tradition. As we make the transition from an oral to a written culture Mulenga's book marks an important landmark. It is a foundation on which we can build to fill in the gaps and help preserve a very interesting part of Zambian culture.

This book is worth reading.

Our rating: 7/10

See also: Zambian Baby Names – What They Mean.

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  5 comments for “Book Review – Some Bemba Names And Their Meanings

  1. Mwilwa
    July 6, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    Looks good, we do not have enough of such books. Does anyone know how it can be purchased in the UK?


    • JS
      July 9, 2013 at 12:31 pm

      Hi Mwilwa,
      It looks like the only way, at the moment, is to ask someone in Zambia to purchase the book for you from one of the bookshops or from Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka.
      If anyone has any more info, I hope they will let us know by leaving a comment here.

  2. Chileshe
    January 13, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    This Book is great. We got our son's name from it Subi, meaning faith. Its Unique and Christian- like.

  3. Editor
    August 12, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    You can get in touch with The Lusaka National Museum or the Bookshop at Lusaka International Airport to buy a copy.

  4. Darius Trapps-Chabala
    August 12, 2011 at 7:41 am

    Where can I get a copy of this?

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